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Melissa
Reply with quote  #1 

I am a native English speaker from the U.S. and my husband is a native Spanish speaker from Colombia.  Our daughter just turned 2.  My husband speaks only Spanish to her.  I speak mostly English, but also mix in about 25% Spanish (the words and phrases I've learned from listening to my husband).  Our pediatrician advised us yesterday that I should stick with only English and my husband should speak only Spanish.  That I should not be mixing the two.  It feels natural for me to speak a little Spanish with my daughter.  Am I really harming my daughter is I mix the languages?  Do I need to speak exclusively English? 

Tereza
Reply with quote  #2 
I also have the same concerns. My son is 19 months and I can't stick completely to OPOL since my husband isn't 100% supportive on raising a trilingual child (English/Portuguese/Arabic) and because he doesn't speak portuguese (my 1st language). So, in order to avoid conflicts, I try to use English (language used between husband and I) when we are all together, but use Portuguese with him about 70% of the time.
  He isn't talking yet (just Mama, Baba, No, animal sounds) and I worry about this mixing. I know using exclusively OPOL would be the best, but it isn't applicable in our situation.
  I also wonder about TV: when we are watching a show in English, should I make comments in English? I like to comment about what we are watching, making it a little more interactive, but we watch TV in all the three languages. What would be the best in this situation?

Pat
Reply with quote  #3 
Not to bash the pediatrician....but what are his/her qualifications in teaching bilingual children?  We've gotten a lot of advice from medical professionals (especially speech therapists) who seem to have read maybe 1 article on the issue in their lives.

In our home, my husband speaks only English.  Our nanny speaks only Spanish.  I speak both English and Spanish with the kids....depending on who else is around.  I believe that there isn't just one path to success.

For us, our 3 yr old son is a late talker, who has had a lot of speech therapy.  He understands spanish and english, but chooses to use mostly english.  His little sister, 2 years old, is a bit advanced for her age, and speaks both languages pretty well.  She prefers to speak spanish, but switches between languages seamlessly, depending on who she is talking to.  When she is out and about with her nanny, no one would know that her parents are both native English speakers.  Both of the kids will sometimes combine spanish and english occasionally.  I think that it pretty normal at these ages.

I believe that only you can make the decision of what works for your family.  Good luck!
Carmen
Reply with quote  #4 

Your doctor is right, you should stick your own language. Children get confused, otherwise, and also feel cheated, as they know English is part of you and Spanish part of your husband. I'm myself a native Spanish speaker and my husband is Australian. I always speak Spanish to my kids, no matter what and who is present, even though my husband and I speak English to each other.

Simon
Reply with quote  #5 
I am a native english speaker who has been speaking Spanish for the last 16 years and am almost bilingual. My wife, who I met in London, is Spanish and speaks excellent English. When we met we spoke in Spanish and that tends to be our main language. My eldest daughter, who is now 5, was born in London and from an early age, we spoke Spanish to her, but she went to an English nursery and all interaction outside our home was in English. However, in 2005, we moved to Spain and now have a three year old daughter. I tend to speak in English to them now, but lapse into Spanish. They both go to the same school, an English school with English teachers and went previously to a bilingual nursery. With television and films, we try to always give them English and I will always translate stories to English when I read them.
The 5 year old speaks excellent Spanish and understands English perfectly, but her spoken English is not great (ie she is not fluent), although she is able to communicate easily and is improving all the time. The 3 year old speaks Spanish as the first language, very little english but again understands perfectly ( and is of course, only 3), she will often say a spanish word but with an english accent. They also knows that both their parents understand them in either language. However, they do know when they need to speak (or try to speak) English or Spanish.
The one advantage I see for the way we are bringing up our children, is that in terms of comprehension they will be able to understand culturally different linguistic concepts as easily in one language or the other, and I am certain that as they grow and learn to read that their communication skills will catch up.
I agree with Pat about doing what you feel is right, and would add that as soon as they leave the house and are with their friends they will use the right language for each friend. The only thing I would say is don´t force them to use either language.

Olga
Reply with quote  #6 
My son is 19 months. Since my husband native language is English, He speaks just English with our son (even though my husband speaks Spanish, but not with my son). I just speak Spanish with my son and English with my husband. We got this agreetment before we have kids. In that way our kids will be able to speak both laguages.
Now I always serached about it. And I am sure that the same person can't talk with the kids in both laguages. If u do, You will create confusions in the kids. And I have prove of that. Since I work with Preeschools kids as a Therapy. And one my them has this issue. His mother speaks with him both laguages since he was little and now the boy speaks Spanglish. And most of the time it is hard to understand him if u speaks just one laguage.
I can understand him, because I speak Spanish and English, but his teacher just speaks English. And most of the time she doesn't understand him. So this has created a conflict and difficulties with the kid bx. Since he feels frustrated, because most of the people don't understand him.
So be careful, and just make sure that u speak Just one language to ur child.  And if this is ur native language. It will be the best.
In my case. I speak just Spanish with my son. So he will learn it perfect and he will be able to comunicate with my family. And the English he is learning it from his father. Even though he spents less time with him (for his schedule at work) It doesn't worry me, because he spents two days a week with his grandmother, who speaks English.
However, be careful and proud of ur laguage, because first that will be a great opportunity for ur son, to know both languages. He will appreciate that when he grows up. If u are smart to teach him proudly.  Now if u feel embarrased for ur language, don't even take the time to teach him.
Be also aware that there are people out there, frustrated and envid because they don'd have the ability to speak two or more languages and they could try to make ur kids feel embarrased or negative about your laguage if they are bilingual.
There was just a case in my area. Where a teacher was just fired, because she put the kids in Time outs punishment, because the kids in her class were speaking Spanish.
Another situation is myself, when my mother in law persistenly bothers me about me talking Spanish with my son. And she has been disrespectful and inappropriate several times. But I just ignored her, because he is my son and not her. For this reason I am plannin to take my son to a Daycare the two days a week that I have to work, In that way I don'w take the risk that his grandmother put negative ideas in his mind against the Spanish.
I also have a friend that she is Slovan and her husband Mexican. Her son is 4 years old and he speaks perfect  Slovan with hi mother, perfect Spanish with his father and perfect English with everybody else. And she did the same thing that I am doing.

Be Proud of raising Bilingual opr Trilingual kids, because they will a better future and more opportunities in their lifes. Remember, u won't be there for them forever.

miguel
Reply with quote  #7 
Hola,
 New here.
My wife is from US and I'm from Chile. Since I met my wife in Chile and now we are living in the US, we are both fully bilingual.
From the very beginning, we always both  agreed to teach both languages, and struggle to decide between OPOL and ML@H.
Now that we have a 3 m/o, we struggle to actually speak Spanish.  I would say that we speak Spanish about 20% of the time.  I think that it easier to say "I would speak only $language with my child" than to actually do it. 
I just wanted to say how much I admire people who actually stick to it and I hope to be one of them. I think that who cares if your kids mix the language a little... doesn't that also happens to you?  I would resolve by itself once the kid goes to school, and they "automagically" would learn what language to use when.

Buena suerte!

Miguel



unique07
Reply with quote  #8 
English is very important to all of us because its worldwide language. Mostly all peoples understand english. But we also need to learn other languages.

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